Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a former actress and documentary filmmaker testified in the L.A. Harvey Weinstein trial yesterday. The wife of California Gov. Gavin Newsom (reportedly a possible 2024 Presidential candidate when the Democrats decide to kick Joe Biden to the curb from which he never should have escaped in the first place) told the court that the once powerful Hollywood producer and major Democratic Party donor raped her in a hotel room in 2005. She spoke of the devastating effect it had on her in the 17 years since…wait, what? Let’s go through that again 2005? And she never told the police or warned any of the other women who Harvey went on to sexually assault, rape and abuse? Why would that be?
“Because you don’t say no to Harvey Weinstein,” she ‘explained.’ “He could make or ruin your career,”
Yesterday, a federal jury in Manhattan found actor Kevin Spacey not liable for battery in actor Anthony Rapp’s lawsuit accusing Spacey of climbing on top of him and making a sexual advance in 1986, when Rapp was 14. This was the accusation that ended Spacey’s acting career five years ago, in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein feeding frenzy with #MeToo Valkyries searching the landscape for villainous men to destroy. Actual justice was only a small part of the mission; mostly it was a power play, a mass cancellation project designed to bring down as many powerful men as possible and to provide accusers-who-must-be-believed with their skin to wear as trophies.
Of course, once such hobgoblins of little minds as consistency required a necessary ally of the Left like Joe Biden to also suffer the consequences of his repeated sexually harassing ways, the fever broke. Still, lots of genuine villains were metaphorically killed along the way, many who “needed killin'” as Texans are wont to say, like Weinstein, surely, and also Matt Lauer, Louis C.K., Bill O’Reilly, Bill Cosby, Rep. Blake Farenthold, CBS chairman Les Moonves and others. More were just swept out in “The Terror” for no good reason, like poor Sen. Al Franken, or without the accusations against them being substantiated of tested in court. In the majority of the cases, the once powerful men were replaced by women, and that was part of the mission as well.
Tonight, starting at 6 pm, EST, I’ll be facilitating a three hours CLE seminar via (yecchh) Zoom for the D.C. Bar. You can use the credits for other bars’ mandatory ethics requirements, so if you need them, I’d love to have you in the group. It’s all interactive, of course. I’ve been doing a year end legal ethics wrap-up, usually a re-boot of a seminar I present earlier in the year, for, oh, almost 20 years now. It’s not too late to register. The information is here, along with a promotional video I made a few months ago. They say video takes away 15 pounds of hair…
On the Christmas movie front: one Christmas movie that needs no ethics critique is 1947’s “The Bishop’s Wife,” an inexplicably under-seen classic film starring Cary Grant (as a very un-Clarence-like angel), Loretta Young and David Niven. It is as good as any of the Christmas classics and better than most, with a religious undertone that is missing from most of the others. In its time, “The Bishop’s Wife” was nominated for several Oscars, including Best Picture. Grant’s performance is especially deft, as he walks an extremely thin line, both in the plot and in his interpretation of the character. I was wondering last night why it hasn’t been remade, but it was: there is a 1996 musicalized version directed by Penny Marshall with Denzel Washington replacing Grant, Courtney Vance taking over for Niven, and Whitney Houston as a singing version of Loretta Young’s character. Justifiable remakes of classic films have to have a “why,” and this one’s justification was apparently that every classic with white stars has to be remade with black ones, or something. The reason I had never heard of it is that the film was generally regarded as inferior to the original, but I am going to have to track it down now and see for myself.
1. Believe all women/accusers/”survivors”… And if a career and a life is ruined unjustly, well, you gotta break some eggs to make an omelette, right? Chris Noth of “Law and Order,” “Sex in the City” and “The Good Wife” fame is now out of a job, having been fired from his supporting role on the CBS/Universal series “The Equalizer.” The reason: a Hollywood Reporter story revealed allegations of sexual assault against Noth by two as yet un-named women, one who says Noth sexually assaulted her in 2004 in Los Angeles, and another who alleges he assaulted her in his New York apartment in 2015.
Jeez, you’d think he had been nominated for the Supreme Court or something. Noth has denied the accusations, but never mind: they are enough, before any investigation, any trial, even any identification of the accusers, to get him “cancelled.”
I assume only those so gullible that they are constantly falling for Ponzi schemes and hanging on Chris Cuomo’s every word have their hands up.
The #MeToo brigade that screamed that Justice Bret Kavanaugh was a “rapist” based on the weirdly vague “discovered memories” of an alleged victim who knew the SCOTUS nominee before he could vote went on to overwhelmingly vote for a Presidential candidate whose serial sexual harassment habit was a matter of photographic record. Now we learn that the leadership of Time’s Up, an organization formed in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations (well, revelations in the sense that all of the Democrats and Hollywood stars who had willfully ignored them finally had to give in) that has the started mission of fighting sexual harassment and sexual assault—at least when Democrats aren’t involved, were involved in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s efforts to stifle the women accusing him of — sexual harassment and sexual assault!
The report issued last week by the New York Attorney General’s office found overwhelming evidence that Cuomo of sexually harassed eleven women. The report, also revealed that Roberta Kaplan, the chairwoman of the anti-harassment group as well as a co-founder, reviewed a draft of an op-ed letter that was designed to discredit Lindsay Boylan, the first woman to accuse Cuomo. The group’s CEO, Tina Tchen, also advised Cuomo and his staff, according to the report. Nice.
Today a group of victims of harassment t and sexual assault published a letter on Medium accusing that Time’s Up of betraying “the very people it was supposed to champion. The board continues to fail to heed the outcry from survivors. TIME’S UP is failing all survivors.”
Now Kaplan has resigned as chair, writing that as a lawyer, she could not answer questions about her involvement with Cuomo. “I therefore have reluctantly come to the conclusion that an active law practice is no longer compatible with serving on the Board at Time’s Up at this time and I hereby resign,” she wrote. So far, Tchen is still with the group.
Jeez, somebody tell him…please? Not only are the President’s comments on the findings released yesterday by New York state Attorney General Letitia James regarding NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s serial sexual harassment, including his call for Cuomo to resign, are embarrassing and inappropriate, they are also…hmmm, let’s see if I can cover them all…
…the babbling of an Ethics Dunce and legal ignoramus who still doesn’t know what sexual harassment is, despite having engaged in it for decades as well as having been photographed while engaging in while Vice-President….
…a blinding example of hypocrisy and ethics estoppel, since while it is true that Cuomo should resign, Biden, of all people, as a sexual harasser himself, is among the last people on Earth (along with Bill Clinton, Harvey Weinstein and a few others) who has any business saying so…
…an Olympics-level achievement in ethics ignorance, as it not only pulls down gold medals in Ethics Duncery but also Unethical Quote of the Month, Incompetent Elected Official, Ethics Corrupter, and Jack Marshall Head Exploder (not to mention the blasts, perhaps fatal, also triggered in the craniums of Tara Reade, Lucy Flores, Amy Lappos, D.J. Hill, Caitlyn Caruso, Ally Call, Sofie Karasek, Vail Kohnert-Yount and others who experienced sexual harassment from Biden…
….in addition to the fact that it is an abuse of power and position for the President of the United States to inject himself into the matters of New York State, the justice system, and the fate of a duly elected official put in place by the citizens of New York. Continue reading →
[I’ve been looking for a chance to use this expression for a while. It derives from the quantum mechanics paradox called Schrödinger’s Cat in which a hypothetical cat in a closed box may be considered simultaneously both alive and dead as a result of being linked to a contingent subatomic event that may or may not occur.I’ve really never understood the cat,butSchrödinger’s Douchebag I get.]
He was cornered, so the Governor of New York, already being buffeted by one serious scandal, decided to try to talk his way out of another one. Two staffers have gone on the record to accuse him of sexual harassment, and one of them related two instance of sexual assault (a kiss and a stroke on the legs). The Gov’s initial vague denials didn’t work, so yesterday the falling Democratic star tried a sort-of apology. Here is the statement:
This time, it’s Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York, who wasn’t exactly in the best of shape politically to start with—you know, all those dead nursing home residents and a his cover-up and everything.
But we have seen how this usually plays out, have we not? Keith Ellison, formerly co-chair of the DNC, was accused of abuse by two exes, but managed to get elected Attorney General of Minnesota. Virginia Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax also has been accused of sexual assault by two women, one claiming rape. Fairfax swears the encounters were consensual, and maybe they were…but then that’s what they always say, isn’t it? Then, of course, there is Joe Biden, whose former staff member accusing him of rape didn’t stop the vast majority of American women, those progressive, feminist warriors, from voting for him.
Lindsey Boylan, a former aide to Cuomo, came forward with detailed allegations of sexual assault and harassment against the governor yesterday, adding to the accusation she had made last December. Boylan accused Cuomo of kissing her on the lips and asking her to “play strip poker” on a plane ride on his official jet. “Governor Andrew Cuomo has created a culture within his administration where sexual harassment and bullying is so pervasive that it is not only condoned but expected. His inappropriate behavior toward women was an affirmation that he liked you, that you must be doing something right,” Boylan wrote. “He used intimidation to silence his critics. And if you dared to speak up, you would face consequences.”
As discussed in the first section of this post, the once sacrosanct principle that lawyers and law firms were ethically obligated to represent unpopular clients when they needed legal assistance has been deteriorating for the last decade, most recently under pressure from the self-righteous Left. Victims of the new progressive ethic that the ends justify the means, Lawyers and law firms have been threatened when they dared to align themselves with the opposition to progressive agenda items, because, in the universe to the port side of the ideological spectrum, those who don’t agree with the righteous are evil.
And it seems clear that few lawyers possess the courage and integrity to remains professional in their response to such threats.
After the King & Spalding embarrassment described in the earlier post, a similar episode occurred involving Obamacare. In House of Representatives v. Burwell, the House challenged the legality of subsidies the Obama administration paid to insurers. After the House authorized the suit, David Rivkin and his firm, Baker Hostetler, signed a contract to litigate the case.
Rivkin was warned by members of the firm that litigating a case in opposition to Obama could drive off potential clients and hurt Baker Hostetler’s credibility…that is, its bottom line. Within a week after the contract was announced, partners at the firm, which represents many hospital management firms and insurance companies, started to receive urgent calls from general counsels of clients in the health-care industry. The messages were identical: their companies could not continue to associate with Baker Hostetler if it litigated the House’s lawsuit. Many suspected that the Obama administration was behind the scenes, urging health-care companies to drop Baker Hostetler. The firm dropped the case.
The House, suddenly without legal representation, frantically sounded out many of the top firms in Washington without success. The House finally selected D.C. lawyer William Burck of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP. Three weeks later, without any explanation, Burck also withdrew from the case under pressure from his firm’s partners.
McGowan is a former Hollywood “scream queen” (one of my personal favorites, with her entertaining turn in “Scream” and her unforgettable “babe with a an automatic rifle for an artificial leg” performance in “Grindhouse” ) turned fearless #MeToo activist. She one of Harvey Weinstein’s victims, and has earned a reputation for calling out hypocrites within that movement in merciless terms, notably her former “Charmed” cast mate and current fellow Twitter auteur, Alyssa Milano.
It was to be expected that the odious dishonesty of the virtual Democratic National Convention just completed would provoke her, and, sure enough, it did.
In her now familiar take-no-prisoners style, McGowran tweeted:
1 .Another shoe drops: The Boston Red Sox announced that they would “support” any players who chose to kneel during the National Anthem when The Strangest Baseball Season since World War II, when teams fielded 16-year-old infielders and one-armed outfielders, commences tomorrow. The announcement was no surprise, and this team in particular had little choice.
Boston’s AL team is forever viewed with suspicion on race issues because it was the last major league team to break the color line, and because it passed on opportunities to sign some of the early black stars. Last season a visiting player claimed to hear a racist slur hurled his way from the Fenway Park bleachers, and the Red Sox management has been ostentatiously “woke,” cancelling Tom Yawkey from the Fenway environs though the team owes its existence to the long-time owner’s beneficence. He was rumored to be a racist, however, and that was enough to justify erasing his name (except from his initials in Morse Code on the scoreboard).
2. Bad service only matters for drug stores, apparently. State regulators in Oklahoma cited and fined CVS for conditions found at four of its pharmacies, including inadequate staffing and errors made in filling prescriptions. Staffing just about everywhere is unfriendly to consumers—indeed, most stores were understaffed even before the lockdown, now half-lockdown while the teachers extort the country.
Our local CVS, where I have many ethics adventures, now has minimal staff, including in the pharmacy, because there are so few customers lately. Hilariously, the store’s auto-scan checkout option is one of the features that requires staff: the damn things don’t work half the time, or a staffer has to lead some confused senior through the process.
3. Unfortunately, it’s more difficult than ever to believe sexual harassment allegations. #MeToo so egregiously overplayed its hand and has been so schizophrenic in its standards that I have to look at any high-profile allegations as potentially motivated by politics. In an action that must have been well underway before the Washington Redskins suddenly caved and agreed to change the team’s name (yet another poll, a new one, has indicated that the vast majority of football fans and Native Americans have no problem with “Redskins”), 15 female ex-employees told The Washington Post that they were sexually harassed while working for the organization. Shortly thereafter, a Fox News staffer and periodic on-air guest filed suit in federal court alleging they had been harassed or raped by Ed Henry, the Fox News reporter who was fired for “willful sexual misconduct in the workplace,” The suit also alleges harassment by Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity, the latter perpetually on “the resistance’s” hit list and the target of boycotts, and Carlson recently becoming a force as a pundit. Therefore he must be destroyed.
Do I find it hard to believe that the Redskins, or any NFL team, has a culture hostile to female employees? No. Do I think that Fox News has effectively banished its pervasive workplace sexism and misogyny since the forced exits of the late Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly? Absolutely not. Do I think weaponizing sexual harassment allegations has become a predictable and unethical tactic on the Left, (See: Mathews, Chris) thus making the timing of both of these sets of complants suspicious?
Is Bismark a herring?*
4. More things now as predictable as they are indefensible. The University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts will remove its John Wayne exhibit as part of the school’s efforts to address “systemic racism” in society with obnoxious, shallow and foolish gestures.
The Duke graduated from USC, of course (he was raised in Iowa), and the justification for his dishonoring was an admittedly dumb interview he gave Playboy in 1971, where he was obviously (to me, anyway, at the time) trolling a liberal and hostile magazine by saying exactly the kinds of things the Wayne haters expected him to say. (I always assumed he was drunk during that interview.) This move by USC was expected—California, universities: you know, morons. As Spiked noted, Wayne’s importance to the culture and the history of film by virtue of his on-screen portrayals should not be diminished by any interview the actor did.
As an actor and a director,Wayne was careful to portray characters who respected blacks and other minorities as human beings. In “The Cowboys,” for example, he is routinely reprimanded and shown up by his black cook, played by the great Rosco Lee Browne. In many movies, like “McClintock!,” “Hondo” and “Fort Apache,” he demonstrated sympathy and respect for Native Americans; Wayne also prominently featured Chinese-American actor H.W. Gim in his films whenever feasible from 1942 on, notably as his landlord Chin Lee in “True Grit.”
If his character was a racist, Wayne didn’t hesitate to represent racism negatively, as when he opposed his black ranch hand (Woody Strode) learning to read in “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence” because Wayne’s character is hostage to archaic traditions, or when he seems determined to murder his white niece (Natalie Wood) because she has lived with Native Americans and presumably had sex with a chief.
All of John Wayne’s wives were also Mexican, meaning that his four children are “Persons of Color.”
Never mind. Wayne’s legacy and hold on the culture is unbreakable. Just last week I stumbled about four of his films on cable. They’ll get Mt. Rushmore before they shoot down the Duke. [Pointer: Pennagain]
*Cultural literacy bonus points for identifying the source.